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8 Thoughtful Employee Recognition Ideas

Let your employees know how much you value them with these personalized and creative employee recognition ideas.

8 Thoughtful Employee Recognition Ideas

Personalized & Creative Employee Recognition Ideas

"People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards."  -Dale Carnegie

Businesses and companies often don’t realize the importance of employee recognition and how much it can affect motivation, performance, and productivity. When employers make an effort to build a culture of appreciation, they help their employees feel engaged and valued, which can ultimately boost a company’s bottom line.

Luckily, employee recognition programs don’t need to be structured, complicated, or costly. There are plenty of easy and effective ways to mark a team success, an employee achievement, or a company milestone.

Let’s take a look at how you can show your employees just how much you appreciate all the hard work that they do. Read on for a few personalized and creative employee recognition examples to express your gratitude and appreciation! (And if you struggle with employee engagement, these recognition ideas can help your employees feel valued.)

Personalized Employee Recognition Ideas

Digital Greeting Cards 

Send thoughtful digital greeting cards to your colleagues for any occasion right from your desk. Browse a wide range of stylish Employee Recognition eCards and Work Anniversary eCards and welcome new employees or congratulate promoted colleagues with New Job eCards!

Customize the message inside the card, include a gift card, and add a heartfelt video message for an extra personal touch. 

Employee Group Videos

When it comes to employee recognition, there’s nothing quite like genuine expressions of appreciation from coworkers, colleagues, and bosses. Group videos are an easy and meaningful way to collect personalized messages of congrats and gratitude that recognize an employee’s achievements and contributions. Take a quick peek at the Admin Day "Thank You" video below and see for yourself! 

Need some help with your group video? Check out these video ideas to recognize employees.

Creative Employee Recognition Ideas

Experiential Rewards 

Spa day, anyone? How about a private cooking class? Or tickets to support your favorite pro sports team? Give your workforce the gift of a fun experience to create lasting memories and reward employees in a meaningful way. 

Experiential rewards let recipients spend time doing something they enjoy (or have never tried before) without having to pay a cent! Be sure to offer employees a wide range of experiences to choose from to ensure that everyone can find something that’s meaningful or special to them. 

Food Truck Party 

Celebrate a company or team milestone by hiring a few food trucks for a unique lunch or dinner celebration. Employees are sure to enjoy the outdoor time hanging out with colleagues and enjoying delicious food. Whether it’s lobster rolls, enchiladas, or gourmet grilled cheeses, there are tons of different options to choose from. And let’s not forget about dessert trucks: cupcakes, cannoli, and ice cream are all sweet ways to end the celebration.

Have a remote workforce? Send employees gift cards for a food delivery service like Grubhub, Doordash, or UberEats so they can enjoy their favorite cuisine whenever they want. 

Unexpected Employee Recognition Ideas

Offsite Outing 

Surprise your employees with a fun excursion. Tour a local brewery, take a painting class together, visit an escape room, or attend a murder mystery dinner. Not only will your team appreciate getting out of the office, they’ll also enjoy the low-key social time with colleagues. 

Time Off 

The gift of time is invaluable. Give an employee or your team an afternoon or day off to let them know you see and appreciate their hard work. Whether they spend that time relaxing or running errands is completely up to them! The important thing to remember is that the act of giving surprise time off sends a strong message of acknowledgement and gratitude to your team. 

Traditional Employee Recognition Ideas

Employee Recognition Awards

Let your workforce know that you see their hard work and appreciate their efforts with awards based on performance, attitude, or your company’s values. Award categories can include: Customer Satisfaction, Workplace Safety, Employee of the Month, Top Sales, Best Team Player, Leadership, Mentorship, and Going the Extra Mile. 

Be sure to present the awards in a public setting so employees can be recognized by their peers (especially if the work they do is behind the scenes). And don’t wait for annual retreats or work anniversaries to present the awards; recognize employees frequently so that it becomes ingrained in your culture. Finally, consider buying a thoughtful gift, cash prize, or gift card to accompany each award. 

Employee Recognition Wall

Take public recognition to the next level by showcasing your employee recognition awards on a fun “Wall of Fame.” Display framed photos of honorees along with their name and achievement in a high-traffic area (think: cafeteria, break room, or reception area). This is a meaningful way to recognize your workforce, remind other employees of your company values, and inspire them to do their best work.

Recognition in the workplace is key to a happy workforce. Whether you choose to create a personalized group video, surprise your team with a fun outing, or go the traditional route with a recognition award, know that employees will greatly appreciate the acknowledgement!